Coal scam: Have approached MoC on sanction issue, CBI to court

Coal scam: Have approached MoC on sanction issue, CBI to court

CBI today told a special court that it has approached Ministry of Coal (MoC) to ascertain status of its request for sanction to prosecute a public servant, who has now retired, for his alleged role in a coal scam case allegedly involving Rajya Sabha MP Vijay Darda.

The agency said that MoC officer L S Janoti, against whom sanction was pending, has retired now and they have written a letter to the Joint Secretary of the ministry on the issue.

"It has been submitted by senior public prosecutor that L S Janoti, the section officer, qua whom sanction was sought from the competent authority has since superannuated. It was further submitted that a letter has been sent to the Joint Secretary, MoC, to ascertain about the status of request of CBI qua sanction to prosecute L S Janoti but no reply has yet been received," Special CBI Judge Bharat Parashar said.

During the hearing, CBI's prosecutor sought some time to apprise the court on the issue after which the judge posted the matter for hearing on June 29.

The court, in its January 30 order, had observed that former Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia, ex-Coal Secretary H C Gupta and Janoti had allegedly committed criminal misconduct and facilitated AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd to unlawfully obtain a coal block.

It had asked CBI to further probe the case in which the agency has chargesheeted Vijay Darda, his son Devendra Darda, Director of AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd Manoj Jayaswal and the firm, as accused.

In its order, the court had observed that Bagrodia, Gupta and Janoti had allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with private parties in the allocation of Bander coal block in Maharashtra to AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd.

The court had earlier granted bail to Vijay Darda, Devendra and Jayaswal after they had appeared before it. Vijay Darda has denied the allegations against him.

The court had earlier said that only Janoti was still in active government service and prior sanction of the competent authority was required to prosecute him for offence punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA).

Regarding Janoti, the court had observed that he had allegedly prepared a "misleading note" on the issue relating to coal block allocation which, in the overall facts and circumstances, appeared to be a deliberate move on his part to benefit AMR and its directors.

The charge sheet was filed against the accused on May 27, last year for alleged offences under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) read with 420 (cheating) of IPC and under the provisions of PCA.

Regarding AMR Iron and Steel Pvt Ltd, CBI had claimed in its FIR that the firm, in its application form for allocation of coal blocks, had "fraudulently" concealed the fact that its group firms had previously been allocated five coal blocks.

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